Local Govt GH¢321.8 m Budget Approved

Hajia Alima Mahama

Parliament yesterday started the consideration of budget estimates for the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and approved GH¢321.8 million for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for it to implement its planned programmes and projects for the 2017 fiscal year.

Out of the amount, a whopping 85% of the estimate amounting to GH¢272.52 million would come from donor funding while the Government of Ghana is providing the remaining GH¢26.53 million

The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama said the ministry would lead the feasibility studies on the government’s flagship policy ‘one district, one factory.’

She said the government was very determined to elect Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and ensure that all the stated objectives of the ministry are carried out for the benefit of Ghanaians

The minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu expressed worry about the impending constitutional breach by the government by allocating less than 5% of the total revenue to MMDCEs and said if the necessary corrections are not made to reflect the constitutional requirement, the minority will head to the court to get the proper interpretation of article 252 of the constitution, which says at least 5% of the total revenue of the country is committed to the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF).

He said the figures given in the 2017 budget shows that 5% of the total revenue of GH¢34 billion is about GH¢1.7 billion but the NPP government has allocated GH¢1.5 billion to the DACF which is a breach of the constitution.

The Minority leader therefore asked the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to urgently confer with the Minister for Finance to top up the rest to make up GH¢1.7 billion for the assemblies or risk being dragged to court over the issue.

Meanwhile, in relation to this controversial issue, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, yesterday laid in parliament a new bill, Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Bill, 2017 to address this anomaly. It was read for the first time yesterday.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr